Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

Page 104 of 176

How to develop a massive competitive advantage with this 1 great idea!

How would you like to develop a MASSIVE competitive advantage for your business?

You can waste years of your time (and all of your money) trying to sell something that’s just too similar to your competitors.  Seriously.  I could help you smash every income and sales record you have, by helping you develop something uniquely valuable about your service and showing you how to market it.

The challenge for non-marketing professionals is always the same though: Finding something that your competitors haven’t thought of, which your prospective clients will be attracted to.

Developing your massive competitive advantage

Over the past 25 years, I have discovered that the best place to start looking for inspiration, is outside your industry or profession.  This is the polar opposite to what most business owners do.  They keep an eye on their competitors and follow their industry, but never think to look outside for; ideas, processes, services or products that they can use to give themselves a massive competitive advantage.

If you are serious about developing your business, but not serious enough to hire expert help, invest some time in researching what people in other areas of business do, to generate throngs of eager clients or customers.

Here’s a quick tip: You will almost always find the best ideas, from industries that have very little in common with your own.

Here’s a second quick tip: Try it – It works!

Oh, and if you simply don’t want any competitors, here’s how to do it!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: adihrespati

Never let a troll steal your dreams!

I received a call earlier from a friend, who is also a fellow blogger.  After years of giving free information to her blog’s community, she added a relevant advertisement to the sidebar of her blog.

Seems reasonable, right?

Well, it turns out she was emailed by a reader, who is also a blogger.  He called her everything from a sell-out to a hypocrite.  He hated that she now had this small ad on the site.  She has over 7,000 RSS subscribers and his was the only complaint in the 3 weeks since she added the 250 X 250 ad.  I suggested she check his blog out.  It was a poorly-written, amateur looking blog, which hadn’t been updated since June 2010!

Trolls are gonna troll!

In my experience, one of the defining characteristics of people who seem to be going nowhere, is that they waste their time dishing out advice to others, rather than working on their own challenges.  They are happier to piss all over your parade, rather than build something of value themselves.  They choose to get their kicks by throwing stones at those with the attributes they lack, rather than working on their own personal or professional development.

The bottom line: Don’t allow these vocal, yet typically inept, people to get in the way of your goals or dreams.  In fact, their very presence is often a good indicator of your own success!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Imamon

How to massively increase your sales and profits, with this 1 great idea!

If you want to increase the number of clients you have or boost your sales figures, here’s a quick marketing tip for you: “People buy for their reasons, not yours!”

Most small business owners make the mistake of selling their services, based on what THEY think matters.  In other words, they look at their product or service and because they know it so well, they assume they ALSO know why each individual person wants to buy it.

They are wrong!

Buying motives

Notice I used the word individual in that last paragraph?  This is because people have their own, individual motivations for making a purchase.  We call this their buying motive. If you try and sell or market your service to someone, based on what you assume will be of most importance to them, you may well lose their interest.  However, if you take a moment to discover what matters to them, you will know exactly what to focus on.

That single step, of discovering someone’s buying motive and then focusing on what motivates them, can increase your conversion rate by hundreds of percent!

I saw a great example of this last weekend.  I needed a new phone, so I visited a store and was greeted by the store manager.  She asked me how she could help and when I told her I was looking to buy a new phone, she asked me a few simple questions:

  • What would I be using the phone for
  • Whether I had a contract or not and who the contract was with
  • What my budget was

Once I gave her my answers, she was able to point me in the direction of a small selection of phones that did what I wanted.  Then, by asking and answering my questions, we were able to spot a clear winner.  She discovered my buying motives and focused everything on getting me a phone, that fitted my needs.  I got a great phone which I am extremely happy with and she made a sale (and an advocate!) Win-win!

By the way, discovering someone’s buying motive always allows you to render better service to them.  With my example of the phone store manager, at no point did I even feel like I was being sold to.  It felt like she was using her knowledge to advise me, so I made the right decision.  Now, had the store manager simply looked at how I was dressed (in jeans and a t shirt), and then assumed I would want a “lifestyle” phone or that I was on a low budget, she would have lost the sale.  She would also have came across as pushy, because she would have been offering me things I wasn’t interested in.

Whenever you speak with a prospective client or customer for the first time, always establish what’s important to them and what they are looking for.  Make that your primary focus.  If you get it right, people will never feel like you are selling to them; just like in the example I gave earlier.  You will come across as a professional, who is helping them make the best decision possible, based on their needs – not yours!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Terry Johnston

What’s inside that yellow box?

If you run a business and have a website, blog, newsletter or use any form of online marketing, you will find the yellow box below this post really useful! (If you are reading this via email, click here and scroll to the bottom of this post.)

Inside that yellow box is a link that will take you to my new blog; which is dedicated exclusively to helping you get the best results from your online marketing.

This new blog covers everything from blogging, email marketing and SEO, through to how to write great content that converts readers into clients.  It’s a free resource, with a couple of dozen posts (and growing) written by me, all of which are unique to that site and just waiting for you to read them.

If you find this blog useful, I believe you will get a great deal from my new blog too.  You can find my new site by following this link.

Thank you!

Visionary, thought leader, maverick or fool? You decide!

Over the past few hours alone, I have seen people using their online profiles to clearly indicate who they are.

  • One lady called herself a visionary.
  • A guy called himself a thought leader.
  • Many referred to themselves as mavericks.

In each case, what the person thought they were doing, was elevating their status.  Of course, in reality they were showing the world that they know nothing about the way that true visionaries, thought leaders or mavericks work.

In my experience, the people who actually possess the rare qualities, which these ill-informed people claim to have, do not have to tell us what they are.  They earn the titles, which other people then use to describe them.

  • Steve Jobs doesn’t call himself a visionary - We see it for ourselves, by what he does.
  • Seth Godin doesn’t call himself a thought leader – We see it for ourselves, by what he does.
  • Leo Laporte doesn’t call himself a maverick – We see it for ourselves, by what he does.

The bottom line: Just as trust is to be earned and not demanded, so are the rare attributes, which so many people readily claim for themselves online.  People show us they are visionaries, thought leaders or mavericks by their actions – Not the labels they eagerly use in a poor attempt to impress others.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Jonny2love

How to live without limits!

In all probability, you are using just a fraction of your potential.  In this brief post, I’ll explain why!

It starts with exploring our fake, self limiting beliefs.

There are so many gifted people out there, capable of great things; only they wrongly believe that greatness is beyond them.  In many cases, the only obstacle between them and massive success, are the self-limiting beliefs they have.  Because they don’t believe they are able to do something, they don’t even try.

If you believe something to be true, it becomes true for you (your truth.)   For instance, if you truly believe that you will lose your home and go broke if you start a business, you won’t even try; even though you may have been capable of building a business worth millions.  The belief, rather than the reality, stops you from getting started.

Self limiting beliefs can be removed

If you believe that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, you will stop learning once you become old (whenever that is?)  I used to think people who were 25 were old (when I was 15.)  That would have been a severe limitation and one that was completely groundless.  I know one lady who changed her whole outlook on life, at the age of 65.  I know a guy, who started to learn karate at the age of 70.

Who said YOU can’t?

One of the things we all need to learn about ourselves, is how to separate our genuine limitations from our fake, self imposed limitations.  Look at what you believe you can’t do and check the source of that belief.  For example, if you believe you can’t dance, who said so?  Was it a qualified dance instructor, who has seen how well you can dance after professional tuition, or are you basing that belief on the feedback you got, the last time you danced in public?

Think about the things you want to achieve and then examine the beliefs that are stopping you.  If they are fake, self imposed limitations, then get the help you need and get started!  In most cases, you will be amazed at just what you are capable of.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: laverrue

What everyone needs to know about their website or blog!

What kind of first impression do you create, when people find you online?

I often follow links from Twitter and Facebook to small business websites and blogs.  A lot of the time, these sites look amateur, dated or both.  No matter how good the actual services offered by these businesses are, their shoddy Internet presence means most people won’t take them seriously!  Prospective clients arrive, see a low quality site and instantly build a negative initial impression of that person or business.

Mixed messages

When we say one thing and then do something else, we create what’s called a mixed message.  Mixed messages create confusion, which is the fastest way to lose business or miss a sale.  One of the oldest sayings in marketing is:

“A confused mind always says NO!”

In other words, if someone is asked to make a buying decision when they are confused, they will typically say “no!” and just keep things as they are.  If you promise people a solid, professional service, your website or blog needs to look solid and professional too.  If they find a site that looks cheap or unprofessional, you are giving your prospective clients a mixed message, which creates confusion and loses you business.

First impressions count

First impressions are extremely important in marketing and business generally.  You need to ensure that when someone arrives at your website, they see something which gives a great account of you and your services and positions you in their mind as a professional.  Your site should confirm your promises.  It should clearly show that you have a professional attitude to business.  If it doesn’t, it will be costing you a fortune in missed business and opportunities.

Depending on which survey you read between 85% and 95% of people, will visit the site of a potential vendor, before deciding to do business with them.  This means it’s extremely important that what they find when they arrive at YOUR site, inspires them to feel confident about you and your services.

How I resolved this problem

I resolved this problem, by building this site using something called Headway.  It allowed me to build a site myself, even though I know nothing about code or web designing.  You can see a video of Headway in action, using this affiliate link.  Since moving this site to Headway, I have been able to improve my online presence and have total control over the look and feel of this site.  It’s one of the best commercial investments I ever made and it cost peanuts (about the same as a game for my son’s xbox!)

Alternatively, you can hire a web designer and commission them to build you a site.  If you take that route, I suggest you find a site you love the look and feel of and find out who designed it.

The bottom line: Anyone can have a professional looking website or blog, regardless of their budget.  There’s just no need to lose all that potential business.  This is really important, if you are serious about your marketing results and the image of your business!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

 

Photo: Darkuncle

The secret to making GREAT business decisions!

How intuitive are you, regarding business decisions?

Someone recently asked me: “What is the best way to ensure you pick the right clients to work with?”

My answer, apparently, surprised them a little.  I suggested they listen to their intuition!

Some small business owners and freelancers will work with literally anyone who will pay them.  That’s a short-sighted way to try and grow a successful business.  The reality is that not all clients are created equal.  Some are a pleasure to work with.  They stand-up to their part of the deal and it works like a dream.  Others are a very bad fit.  You can’t build a successful business working with that second group.  They drain you mentally and neither party will get what they need.

So, how do you ensure you get to work with the right people?

How do you turn your client relationships into non-stop win-wins?

You use the power of your intuition!

The power of intuition

Identifying the right kind of clients to work with is important, however, because we are all unique, your ideal client will look different to mine.  The thing we are always searching for, is a client that is the right mix.  You need to feel right about them.  There needs to be a requirement on their side for what you offer and a commitment, to do their part.  You need to believe that you can give them what they need and help them achieve the agreed end result.  Win-win!

Notice I used the word feel in that previous paragraph?

This is because I strongly believe that when it comes to deciding who to work with, our gut feeling or intuition is often extremely accurate.  In the past 15 years, I have ignored my intuition just a few times, and paid the price.  Today, I go with my intuition on every business decision.  I have learned to trust it.

Of course, your intuition is invaluable in every area of your business, not just when it comes to identifying great people to work with.  For example, I have seen opportunities, which looked fine on paper, but which just felt wrong.  I have passed on them, and later spoke with people who got involved and regretted it.  On the other side of the ledger, I was warned by everyone not to relocate from London, to a tiny rural village, here in Yorkshire.  However, as soon as I saw the place, it immediately felt right. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, even though on paper, it was nuts!

So, do you follow your intuition?

When I ask people that question, they either immediately get it or they think I am talking mumbo-jumbo.  The thing is, there’s nothing strange or weird about intuition.

When we get a feeling about someone (or something) it’s because our brain has frantically searched around, looking through our past experiences.  If the results were positive, you will get a positive feeling about progressing.  Your past experiences have suggested that this is more likely to turn out well, than turn out poorly.  Conversely, if the results are negative, you get the opposite feeling.  Your past experiences suggest that this is a bad mix and there’s a good chance it will turn out wrong.

When it comes to picking clients or business partners (or making any kind of business decision), I strongly recommend you take your gut feelings into account.  They are not always right, but they are a great deal more accurate than you may believe.  If you pay close attention to your intuition, it gets progressively more accurate too.

Do you follow your intuition?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Jerine

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